Handling Emotional Overwhelm – the AgiliZen Way – ADHD Support Talk Radio

I appeared on ADHD Support Talk Radio, discussing the agile way of dealing with and preventing emotional overwhelm.


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Handling Emotional Overwhelm the Agile way -ADHD Support - Ariane Benefit, Life Coach NJ, NYC Highlights

  • The role of emotions in cultivating performance and productivity
  • Cultivating emotional resilience and intelligence is a high impact productivity strategy for everyone and particularly for creatives, HSP (Highly Sensitive People), ADHD, Gifted Adults, and other neurodiverse individuals.
  • How your personal metaphors affect your emotional life and how you handle conflict.
  • Common metaphors that affect what you perceive is normal, acceptable, or disordered.
  • The car and plane metaphors for different personality and productivity styles. Continue reading

Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.

war of-art-steven-pressfield

What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as  “Resistance is Evil?” 

If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.  

Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves.  Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged.   Continue reading

Intensity – What makes intensely creative, emotional and gifted adults like Steve Jobs prone to troubling relationship issues?

I was truly dismayed to see someone as influential and talented as Steven Johnson, author of the brilliant book  Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation say this about Steve Jobs:

“But for all his obnoxiousness with his colleagues…, Jobs had a rich collaborative streak as well. He was enough of an egomaniac to think of himself as another John Lennon, but he was always looking for McCartneys to go along for the ride with him.”

SOURCE: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2011/10/thoughts-on-steve-jobs-the-book.html

To me, this is an example of the kind of socially accepted intolerance, bias, and disparaging name-calling that creative, emotionally intense and gifted adults (and children) frequently experience their entire lives. Even though Mr. Johnson is intending to show the “other” side of Steve Jobs complex personality, it doesn’t excuse his perpetuating the portrayal of Steve as an “obnoxious egomaniac.”   Those are some powerfully degrading and hurtful words for such a respected author to be using as though they were mere objective facts and not defamatory or derogatory character slurs. Continue reading

You are NOT your own worst enemy…at least…you don’t have to be.

EVERYTHING we do is with the intention to make our short-term, present emotional lives either, less painful / stressful, more tolerable, or more meaningful / pleasurable in some way.

We are always coping with the imperative of making the NOW bearable as we pursue our longer-term ideals.

How to integrate our short-term intrinsic rewards with our long term goals/desires?

One thing I know for sure – it is NOT by seeing yourself as an enemy.

Continue reading

Agilizing, Resistance and the Art of War



 

agile-goals-habits-small-changes-can-make-big-differences

I learned a lot about how to AVOID inner war by reading the “Art of War” by SunTzu.  I read the book because I wanted to better understand why “war” is so commonly used as in our culture as a metaphor for personal growth.  In my opinion, gardening and cultivation is a far more accurate metaphor for how personal growth really works.


To my surprise I found that Sun Tzu actually teaches that war should be used only as a last resort.  How interesting that so many people have misinterpreted or distorted his work or perhaps haven’t actually read the book in it’s entirety.

How unfortunate for us that war metaphors as so commonly used to teach self-development.  Teaching people to use war as a primary way of interacting with themselves, like “Conquering Your Inner Critic” or “Battling your Inner Demons” is a recipe for fostering chronic frustration, insecurity, depression and anxiety.

Another popular example of using war as a metaphor for engaging with the parts of ourselves we don’t understand is the book, “The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He refers constantly to our inner resistance as “our inner enemy.”   This is not just a word problem.  It’s NOT TRUE.

In fact it’s worse than not true, believing you have an enemy inside you feeds and worsens the problem you are trying to solve.  The truth is that you have inner opposition and you NEED that part of you so that you can learn and grow.

rp_Agilizen-think-you-know-250x228.pngEnemies tend to hate you and not have your best interest at heart.  Opponents may challenge you but may also be your friend who cares about you deeply and wants you to succeed.  It is FAR more helpful to your personal relationship with yourself (and to your personal growth) to view your inner resistance as a challenging friend who is trying to give you difficult feedback but doesn’t have the right words.

Listening to that friend instead of fighting or trying to silence it is far more valuable to your personal growth, don’t you think? Even if you disagree with it, there is value in being challenged to fine-tune your thinking, and to become more creative and agile in your problem-solving, isn’t there?

Sun Tzu teaches that the most effective way of winning is never going to war.  It is a far superior strategy to avoid war and to turn your opponents into allies.

Another common myth is that The Art of War is about how to deal with enemies.  Interestingly, I found that he used the term “oppositional forces” and “opponents” rather than enemies. According to Sun Tzu, hate or disrespect for your opposition actually makes YOU weak…not them.

starting overThinking of your inner resistance as your natural opposition to “over-controlling” or “over-pressuring” makes a lot more sense.  When someone doesn’t listen to you and just tries to order you around, you resist, right?

If you are not listening to the part of yourself that isn’t “READY” to do what you are telling it to do, naturally you will resist yourself.  Wouldn’t it be more effective to engage in a conversation with your resistance than to start a fight? 

When you are resisting doing something you think you “should” be doing, try asking yourself one of more of these questions that help you “agilize” potential solutions instead of fighting a war you can’t win.

– What would help me feel more “ready” to do this?
– What time of day might I more naturally be inclined to do this?
– What’ would make this feel easier?
– What is the really value of doing this?
– What will the impact be? in the short term?
– How little of this could I do and call it good enough?
– What assumptions am I making about when, where, how, how much, how long, with who, how perfect, how many?
– What could I redesign to make this more attractive?

Focusing on readiness to do things rather than “pushing” or coercing yourself is much more effective and satisfying in the long run. Try it a couple times.

See how your resistance changes when your creative brain kicks in. : )

http://www.artofwarsuntzu.com/SunTzuEBook.htm

 

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Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders

Have you had multiple labels given to you by professionals? Do you love someone who has?

One of the well-kept secrets of the mental health community is that more than half and possibly up to 80% or more of the people who receive a diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, PTSD, Depression, or a Learning Disorder are also gifted and multi-talented. Also, if you get any one of these diagnoses you are very like to get multiple diagnoses. They call this co-morbid or co-occuring conditions. They also may call you twice-exceptional.

 By definition, multiple diagnoses is a sign that we don’t really understand the full complexity of the underlying causes of human behavior. Is depression chemical? is it situational? is it reactionary? is it lifestyle? is it culture? is it the individual’s responsibility?

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My Story of Becoming Agile

butterflyMy whole adult life has been spent learning everything I could about what it takes to overcome chronic disorganization, clutter, and overwhelm to achieve not only higher  performance, but also a higher quality of life.  After all, who cares about productivity when you are depressed, anxious, or exhausted from feeling overwhelmed?

I have been driven to figure out a theory, but more importantly to figure out what people really need to support them in putting theory into action and practical application.

This is my story of getting unstuck and becoming agile – going from a childhood of abuse, domestic violence and welfare, to sending myself to college, to becoming an performance consultant to the Fortune 500,  to ultimately designing my life to fit me and becoming a coach, writer and organic learning facilator – aka Teacher.  Continue reading